Nursing lecturer wins Best Presentation at European Conference

Monday, 09 July 2018

Sue Sigma News

Dr Sue Schutz tells us about the recent Sigma Theata Tau European Conference, at which she won an award for Best Presentation!

Back in June, a number of nurses and nursing researchers descended on Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge for the European Conference of Nursing Honour Society, Sigma. It drew attendees from across Europe, as well as the US, Japan, China and more. In addition, a number of Oxford Brookes nursing staff also braved the Oxford/Cambridge divide to attend!

Amongst our attendees was Dr Sue Schutz, who reports that the conference was a busy and enjoyable event. With over 300 people from several continents attending, it gave a real feel of a community coming together. And it didn’t hurt that it was an event graced with wonderful weather in a vibrant city.

There were various activities and chances to socialise and share expertise. Social-wise, there was a lovely reception with the Mayor of Cambridge, plus a conference dinner and a punting outing, among other activities. And attendees were able to share their research as part of the poster exhibition or via a number of presentations.

One of these presentations was, of course, Sue’s.  The abstract that Sue submitted was co-written with Dr Helen Walthall, on the subject of “Stakeholder engagement in qualitative research”. Sue spoke about the research project she’s been working on with Dr Walthall (who is chief investigator), where they are looking at the needs of carers for those who have suffered heart failure.

These are carers who often don’t have a great deal of support or funding. For a lot of those caring for those who’ve suffered heart failure, their benefits amount to around 60p an hour. Given heart failure is a relatively common condition, the amount of support that carers receive is conspicuously low.

The project aims to use the input of carers and stakeholders to create a framework for an intervention that will offer much-needed support. It consists of three phases. The first, to assess the needs of caregivers. The second, to work with healthcare professionals to assess how these needs can be met. And, the third, to design an intervention (either in person or digital) that can provide better support to those caregivers.

While there are various hurdles surrounding involving stakeholders in research, Sue and Helen have had some luck with the help of community heart failure nurses. The project now has two stakeholders on board, one of whom is on the research advisory team, and is also supported by heart failure charity Pumping Marvellous.

Sue reports that she was very surprised to win the award at the closing ceremony. But she’s very happy to have gotten this area of research a bit more visibility - and the nice hefty glass trophy is pretty good too!